Friday, 5 October 2007


Metro always runs a column on Wednesday called MetroSexual, about relationship matters etc. This week, it was about men's obsession with the size of their penises. It mentioned a film made by Lawrence Barraclough about his relationship with his penis, called My Penis and I. I feel very strongly about this:


I will admit to being a bit of a grammar fascist, but this is the one error that particularly gets under my skin - way more than Lynn Truss and misplaced apostrophe's apostrophes. People saying things like 'are you coming to the pub with Bernard and I' is just plain wrong, and plain stupid.

Maybe my rage comes from a dark and unexplored corner of my childhood, or maybe I was born with it. I don't know. But it has been disastrous. For example on an occasion when, fresh out of university and at the beginnings of a really exciting new job, my manager (Steve) handed me back a corrected version of a draft memo that I had written. I didn't usually bother spell-checking these documents because my errors were few, and it gave him stuff to correct - and took his attention away from some of the logical holes in my arguments. When I looked at the sheet, I saw a red line through 'please speak to Steve or me' and the fateful script 'please speak to Steve or I'.

[cut to black screen]
[fade in words 'Three minutes later']
[fade to black screen]
[fade back to original scene - Major now standing on Steve's head and looking crazed]

Major: It's... not... wrong... you... wouldn't... say... speak... to... I... would... you...

Or at least that's how the fantasy version of my revenge played out in my head. So consumed was I with rage and so engrossed was I in my fantasy violence against him for the trespass that I sat there, lost and silent, for about 5 minutes before looking back up at him with an evil stare that made him think that I was actually going to hurt him. So ended a great working relationship.

What irks me so grievously is that this is not even a grammatical rule. No-one would say 'Come to the pub with I', they would say 'Come to the pub with me' - so it should be 'Come to the pub with Bert and me'. They wouldn't say 'Me am going to the pub', they would say 'I am going to the pub' - so it should be 'Bert and I are going to the pub'. That's the distinction, there is no rule or complexity to it.

To prove the 'stupid' theory, let's turn to Aussie soaps for a demonstration of this. Mrs Gripe yearns for a return to her happy days living in Sydney and so enjoys Home and Away. She is unable to watch it without me yelling over the theme tune, because it has contained this error from the beginning up to the latest version. That's 18 YEARS OF THE SAME MISTAKE.

So be prepared, if you hear anyone uttering this faux-pas, and if a military fellow happens to be standing nearby in civvies, to witness an angry former Major standing on the speaker's head and imparting - alto vocce - a lesson in non-grammar.

Right. Now that's off my chest, I need to cool down. Me am off to the pub.


Will Petty said...

Is Oscar Hammerstein II an illiterate hack too then?

Major Gripe said...

The page does acknowledge, in the section about the music, that there is some debate about the title.

But I may have been guilty of a pre-emptive rant here - it does depend on how the title would continue if it were a sentence. We need to know more about Lawrence Barraclough to make a definitive judgement on whether or not he would appreciate the intricacies of this...

Squiggle said...

You're right... a completely misguided and "pre-emptive" rant. There's nothing wrong with it at all. "My penis and I are going to a party": correct. "Would you like to come to a party with my penis and me?": also correct. It's all about subjects and objects.